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Backcountry in July, 3 days/2 nights, w/dog & neophyt

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Backcountry in July, 3 days/2 nights, w/dog & neophyt

Postby jeh88 » Mon Jun 13, 2016 8:47 am

My wife's brother and sister are visiting us, in LA, around July 10th and all they want to do is go to the Sierras for a short trip. We're new to LA and have only done Rae Lakes in Kings Canyon so I don't have past experience to help me plan this trip.


1. I have a list of ideal parameters that I know can't all be fulfilled, so I am hoping you all can offer some suggestions that will come close.
We will definitely have a young dog with us (whom I will be carrying for some of the mileage) so that immediately rules out a lot of terrain. We can, however, take our dog to Inyo, Muir, and Ansel Adams; so those are the places I'm focusing on, though I'm open to others.


2. High, but not too high. We'll be driving up from LA in late evening and starting the next day, so we will be acclimating on trail. My wife had some discomfort at 10,500 a few summers ago (her first time at elevation) and her brother and his girlfriend have never been at elevation. However, I know we all want to get out of the trees (especially me...), so I'd like to find a route that has some elevation but that at least doesn't require strenuous exertion at the higher points. I would definitely say anything above 11,000 is pushing into the red and I would be more comfortable if we maxed out at around 10,000. It would also be good if the route was in an area in which a trip could be salvaged if someone needs to descend.


3. Mosquitos. July. ...Yea, I know, I am asking the impossible, but if anyone can make recommendations on routes that minimize the likelihood of soul-killing black swarms, please share. This will be my brother-in-law and his girlfriend's first foray into real wilderness and I'd really like to avoid turning them off to the experience by leading them into a blood letting.


So with all that in mind, I think my ideal route would be a short (5-10 mile) hike in to a nice area for basecamp with opportunities for an interesting day hike from camp. My thoughts are that if basecamp is at a reasonable altitude (8-10k) we would have a good chance for everyone to be comfortable and those who are comfortable could continue to a higher elevation on the day hike. We would hike out the 3rd day. The other benefit of this is I won't have to carry my full pack and our dog every day :).

The next best option would be a loop with gentle days, maybe two 8s and one 4 or something.

Either way, ideally we would see some nice big mountain views and some alpine lakes.

I was initially thinking something in/around Mosquito flats would be perfect, however after reading posts I'm starting to think that the name is pretty literal? And, that might push our elevation a bit high, depending on the route?

Also, I know some might disagree with our decision to bring our dog, she'll be young (5 1/2 months) and she is small (mini aussie). However, she is fully vaccinated, well trained, and I will be carrying her as much as necessary. It's unfortunate that her presence rules out so many amazing places, but she's definitely a member of our crew :).

Thanks!



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Re: Backcountry in July, 3 days/2 nights, w/dog & neophyt

Postby seanr » Mon Jun 13, 2016 9:57 am

I'd go in expecting skeeters July 10th. Aim to set up camp in wind prone locations/avoid wind sheltered camp spots.

You mentioned avoiding strenuous backpacking at altitude and carrying a dog. Your original idea is actually great for that because major uphill climbing is unnecessary in Little Lakes Valley. Dayhikes to peaks, passes, or higher lakes would be easy to find there.

Two areas that start lower, are scenic, and have dayhike opportunities without going much above 10.5k are Dinkey Lakes Wilderness and Kaiser Wilderness. Both have easy trips to several choices of lakes and both have expansive views of the High Sierra from their highpoints. In the Eastern Sierra, look at a trip from Mammoth Lakes to Duck Pass area.


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Last edited by seanr on Mon Jun 13, 2016 10:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Backcountry in July, 3 days/2 nights, w/dog & neophyt

Postby brandy » Mon Jun 13, 2016 10:12 am

I just did a great little overnight trip with my 13 year old this weekend starting at Shake Camp in Mountain Home State Forest and into Golden Trout Wilderness that I felt would be perfect for first time backpackers with regard to difficulty and altitude, if you're unsure of how they will feel over 10k feet. We camped about 3.5 miles in on the trail, right next to the Tule River. One river crossing at Redwood Crossing that wasn't too difficult other than being really cold! Once we passed the boundary into Golden Trout Wilderness we bypassed one campsite and kept going another half mile or so and there were two great obvious campsites with rock fire rings with very easy access to the river. While we didn't take advantage of it, there are day hiking opportunities to some higher altitude lakes if you wanted to do that and get a taste of both. I love Little Lakes Valley, but if you're looking for more solitude and the extremely cool bonus of getting up close and personal with some Giant Sequoia trees without the crowds of a national park, this place was amazing! :)

Mou
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Re: Backcountry in July, 3 days/2 nights, w/dog & neophyt

Postby maverick » Mon Jun 13, 2016 12:00 pm

Hi Jeh88,

Welcome to HST!

3. Mosquitos. July. ...Yea, I know, I am asking the impossible, but if anyone can make recommendations on routes that minimize the likelihood of soul-killing black swarms, please share. This will be my brother-in-law and his girlfriend's first foray into real wilderness and I'd really like to avoid turning them off to the experience by leading them into a blood letting.


Good luck on that one. Read the following thread and get prepared physically and mentally: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=7828&hilit=mosquito+avoidance#p56699

GTW as Brandy recommends is a good location, LLV is an excellent location, minimal effort maximum return, but it is above you elevation requirements, and will be very, very busy. Dinkey Lakes is a good location, it has several lakes you can visit, but it too will have skeeterz, and can get rather busy.
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Re: Backcountry in July, 3 days/2 nights, w/dog & neophyt

Postby SSSdave » Mon Jun 13, 2016 3:07 pm

By July 10 mosquitoes in some High Sierra locations will be on the wane though still unpleasant for the majority that don't know how to deal with them:

viewtopic.php?f=34&t=5088&hilit=avoid+mosquitoes&start=12

My post from above 2010 thread:

Greg maybe it would be useful to have some information and tips about successfully camping and hiking during mosquito season. Something to add below your title post. Every year on several boards I read numbers of posts by those for whom mosquitoes obviously are plaguing. Seems those of us that rarely get bit like this person are always in a small minority. Of course I always see lots of people when I am out there suffering...wrong clothing, wrong choice of campspots, stop wrong spots along trails, don't understand best times of day to hike to avoid squeets, mediocre repellant, the grubby, sweaty, stinky that squeets seek.


http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=36.76403,-118.35605&z=15&t=T

Driving from LA for just a 2-night trip, will not want to be driving too far north. 5-10 miles is probably too much a gamble for newbies. Is more than just a person's fitness when using new gear like boots and a weighty pack. Thus 3-6 miles is a wiser limitation. And you will want to bring them somewhere exciting that will make them want to return in the future.

Reads like you already went over Kearsarge Pass enroute to Rae Lakes. The above topo links to the same basin above Onion Valley Trailhead you used. Where I would suggest is the Matlock Lake basin that is just over an easy divide from the main trail you traveled. Very scenic below University Peak. Nicely the topo does not show the trail into that basin so that area tends to be bypassed by most visitors. But there is a well pounded use trail coming in from near the Flower Lake outlet. Would not suggest camping at Matlock because that is where others are more likely to visit or camp but rather northeast of the no-name lake or ponds to the northeast. Lots of other lakes to explore in the zone, for instance beautiful Bench Lake is just above and the kind of modest effort one is apt to tackle later in the afternoon after resting a few hours from a hike in. By then wildflowers will be peaking in those areas. Also to provide a nice alpine feel, you will see areas of still melting snows just above on the shady University Peak northern steeps. On your second day might hike early morning up to the pass that would be a modest 1300 foot effort where you could enjoy the fine views west.

David
http://www.davidsenesac.com/2016_Trip_C ... les-0.html
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Re: Backcountry in July, 3 days/2 nights, w/dog & neophyt

Postby Love the Sierra » Mon Jun 20, 2016 10:23 pm

Hi,
I always take my dogs too and they began hiking at about 5 mo old. (Mine are Samoyeds, I am not sure that I know what a mini Aussie is but and Aussie surly can hike.) Anyway, please see my post about Maxson trailhead in the JM. (Sorry, I am new and do not know how to include the link to this post.) It was a really easy hike, low elevation (below 9000') lovely and peaceful. You do not get lakes, but the Kings River is absolutely stunning and roaring over granite for as far as the eye can see. You are surrounded by granite domes and mountains at the river. Everything is blooming. The mosquitos were quite manageable, responding nicely to the occasional spray of repellent, except for at Post Corral Meadow which is very avoidable with preparations ahead of time. (See my post.) I also think that the mileage will fit your criteria.
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